Background and purpose
The epidemiological characteristics of hypertension and obesity in French Overseas Territories (FOTs) have never been compared.
This cross-sectional survey included representative population-based samples of 602, 601, 620 and 605 men and women aged more than 15 years, respectively, from four FOTs of Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, and French Polynesia. Hypertension was defined as blood pressure (BP) at least 140/90 mmHg or the current use of antihypertensive treatment.
The prevalence of hypertension was 29.2% in Guadeloupe, 17.9% in French Guiana, 27.6% in Martinique and 24.5% in French Polynesia. Considering the Guadeloupe population as the reference group, prevalence of hypertension was significantly lower in French Guiana (P < 0.001), even after controlling for age and sex (P = 0.006). Awareness and treatment of hypertension were similar in French Guiana, Martinique and Guadeloupe (68.8–75.1% and 69.0–73.4%, respectively). Awareness was lower in French Polynesia (50.0%, adjusted P value = 0.04), as was treatment of hypertension (32.4%, adjusted P value = 0.001). Control of hypertension was also lower in French Polynesia (8.8%, adjusted P value = 0.001) compared with the other territories (29.7–31.8%). French Polynesia had the highest prevalence of obesity (33.1%, adjusted P value < 0.001) as compared with the other territories (17.9–22.8%). It had also the largest population attributable fraction of hypertension due to obesity (35.5%) compared with Guadeloupe (13.3%), Martinique (12.3%) and French Guiana (23.6%).
Wide variations were observed in the prevalence and the management of hypertension between these FOTs, and an especially challenging low control of hypertension was found in French Polynesia. Obesity appears a key target to prevent hypertension, particularly in French Polynesia.